The Bureau of Fire Protection has deployed some 63 of its firefighter-nurses to COVID-19 facilities and hospitals across Metro Manila following the fire that hit the Philippine General Hospital.
“They are not ordinary nurses from the BFP. They have special training on paramedics, handling of hazardous materials – they are members of our emergency medical services and, most importantly, they are also firefighters,” BFP chief Jose Embang Jr. said during Tuesday’s send-off ceremony.
“Their deployment is not only dedicated to responding and augmenting hospitals that are in need of nurses, they can also respond to other emergencies like what happened in the PGH.
A PGH official said it may take up to four months to repair the facility after Sunday dawn’s fire that led to the evacuation of hundreds of patients, including those from COVID-19 wards and dozens of babies.
The fire destroyed five sterilization units and might have caused structural damage, according to hospital director Dr. Gerardo Legaspi.
“Our estimate is that it will take about 3 to 4 months for the resumption of normal operations at the operating room supply area where the fire broke out, considering the construction that needs to be done. But we will not wait for that long to resume operations again,” he added.
“The fire damaged only a small area of the hospital but it was a very vital space, the operating room. Activities to deliver surgical service were delayed but we are in the process of restoring that,” he added.
PGH, which is the country’s largest COVID-19 referral facility, is working with other hospitals as it moves to restart operations on a regular basis.
He said the cost of damage to equipment alone is already at “P50 million upwards.”
Help from the private and public sectors, including P100 million from the Presidential Social Fund, have poured for PGH.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque also visited the PGH on Tuesday and brought stand fans to help ward off the smell of smoke.
Legaspi said they will procure new machines and devices to equip their operating room, as well as make sure that there will be no similar incidents in the future.
“A lot of help is coming our way. We do not see any problems going back to 100-percent efficiency. Definitely, we will start with making sure the fire will not happen again. We will update our electrical systems, install better warning systems, procure new equipment,” Legaspi said.